How Do Rear-End Accidents Happen?
Rear-end collisions are among the most common accidents in the United States. They are often a result of a driver’s negligence, based on factors such as:
- Driving while intoxicated
- Faulty brakes or accelerators
- Sudden braking
- Driving below the recommended speed limit
- Distracted driving
- Driving while drowsy or fatigued
- Failure to check a blindspot
The consequences of a rear-end collision can be traumatizing and lead to life-altering injuries. Who is to blame for a rear-end accident often depends on various factors. If you sustained injuries in a rear-end collision, consult skilled Boston personal injury lawyers for legal counsel on how to fight for your rights.
How is Liability Determined in a Rear-End Accident?
In most rear-end accidents, a car crashes into another from behind because the rear driver didn’t leave enough following distance between the two vehicles. When the front driver slams on their brakes, the rear driver cannot stop in good time and space, thus colliding into the car in front. In such situations, the rear driver is deemed to be at fault, but this isn’t always the case.
Massachusetts is a modified no-fault insurance state, meaning that people can be held liable for accidents in which they are deemed to be over 50% at fault. The state has strict guidelines for determining liability and ensuring accident victims receive adequate compensation for the other driver’s negligence. Car accident attorneys in Boston can help you pursue justice.
Requirements for Holding a Driver Liable
A driver is considered at fault for an accident if the following conditions are satisfied:
- The driver is more than 50% at fault, as determined by the Standards of Fault.
- The vehicle involved is a private passenger motor vehicle.
- The claim payment to the accident victim is more than $500, over any deductible.
- The claim payment concerns bodily injury, property damage, collision, or limited collision coverage for a car subject to the Safe Driver Insurance Plan.
Once the at-fault driver has been identified, the Massachusetts Merit Rating Board will add the accident to the at-fault driver’s record. Depending on the incident, the driver’s driving record will also collect surcharge points. An experienced Boston car accident attorney can provide more details on this and its impact on a driver’s driving record.
What is Massachusetts Standard of Fault?
The Massachusetts Driver’s Manual identified 19 situations in which a driver is presumed to be more than 50% at fault for an accident, also known as the Standards of Fault:
- Colliding with a lawfully or unlawfully parked car
- Failure to signal
- Collision at a T intersection
- Failure to yield the right of way to emergency cars
- Non-contact operator causing a collision
- Colliding with another vehicle while merging onto a highway
- Unattended car collision
- Failure to observe the rules and regulations for driving
- Single vehicle collision
- Opened or opening vehicle doors
- Leaving or exiting from a parked position, driveway, or parking lot
- Collision while making a U-turn or left turn across the travel path of another car traveling in the same or opposite direction
- Collision while backing up
- Collision at an uncontrolled intersection
- Driving on the wrong side of the road
- Operating in the wrong direction
- Not proceeding with caution despite a traffic control sign.
- Out-of-lane collision
- Failure to signal
Skilled car accident lawyers in Boston can investigate your case to determine which Standards of Fault apply to your lawsuit. They can enlist the help of accident reconstruction experts to determine what led to the accident adequately. That way, they will have solid grounds for holding the at-fault driver liable for your injuries and help you pursue compensation.
How Does Negligence Impact a Massachusetts Personal Injury Claim for a Rear-End Collision?
If another driver is more than 50% at fault for the collision, you may be able to pursue a personal injury claim. However, you must prove that you fulfilled your responsibilities as a driver while exercising due care while operating a vehicle. Your personal injury attorneys in Boston must prove that the other driver failed to exercise reasonable care, leading to the crash and damages.
Since Massachusetts is a modified comparative negligence state, you may be able to collect damages from the other party if they were at least 51% to blame for the accident.
Exceptions to Rear Driver Fault
If your car accident lawyers in Massachusetts determine that you meet the criteria for a rear-end collision lawsuit, they must show evidence that the rear driver who hit you was negligent.
While the rear driver is often considered negligent, insurance companies, to get out of paying you, may claim the following:
- You reversed suddenly, colliding into the rear vehicle rather than the other way around
- Your brake lights were not working
- You stopped suddenly to make a turn but failed to turn
- You were stopped for an emergency but didn’t pull off the road or didn’t use hazard lights
Whatever happened, ensure you enlist the help of experienced Boston car accident attorneys who can refute these arguments and fight for the maximum compensation you deserve.
Seek Legal Help in Determining Liability in a Rear-End Accident
A rear-end collision can happen virtually anywhere on the road for many reasons. If you sustain severe injuries due to the crash, you can bring a claim against the negligent driver. However, you must be able to prove liability based on Massachusetts Standards of Fault. Skilled personal injury lawyers with experience in personal injury law can help you.
At Joel H. Schwartz, P.C., we have a team of aggressive car accident lawyers who can assess your case and help you pursue justice. You shouldn’t let a negligent driver risk your future and finances. Let us help you find out what your case is worth and your compensation options. Call us at 508-850-0342 to schedule a FREE consultation.